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Oakland Athletics: Three reasons to start trading

The Oakland Athletics are not going to the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Despite having a +47 run differential, Oakland is only better than the Boston Red Sox in the American League with a rancid 43-52 record. The team has enjoyed terrific individual performances, but has been undone by a horrific bullpen and major defensive lapses.

With the July 31 deadline approaching, general manager Billy Beane is going to be fielding calls every minute. Contenders are going to be burning up the phone lines for starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, reliever Tyler Clippard and second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist, all of whom should be made available.

So why should Beane and Oakland tear down the team in 2015, despite being only eight games out of a wild card spot?

1. Build for the future

The A’s started to do this last year when Beane, furious after the team absolutely fell apart over the last two months of the 2014 regular season, traded Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija. In return, Oakland got a bevy of young talent including pitcher Kendall Graveman, third baseman Bret Lawrie, shortstop Marcus Semien and multiple prospects.

Zobrist could bring back a decent prospect, while Kazmir will have a sizable haul going to Oakland.

2. Neither are coming back anyway

Kazmir and Zobrist are in the final years of their deals and both are over 30 years old. Beane can’t afford to make ay mistakes on his shoestring budget, so he will not invest in an aging player who was hurt for a large portion of this year and a left-handed pitcher who could break down at any moment.

Beane would get a couple of first-round picks when these players are signed in free agency at the end of the season, but why not get prospects who have a proven track record in the minor leagues? Beane is one of the best general managers in the history of baseball. He will maximize their value.

3. Give youngsters a chance

With the A’s going nowhere, why not trade away a few veterans and bring up some kids to play out the string. There is nothing wrong with getting a few prospects or developing major leaguers a chance to get into the lineup or rotation and find out where they are in terms of being a solid player.

Oakland relies heavily on its farm system because it simpy can’t afford to go out and get big-ticket free agents like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. With the playoffs nothing more than a pipe dream, put the remainder of 2015 to good use and see what you have in some of the organization’s top prospects.


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